Friday 8 January 2016

What I Travel with as a Vegan: 10 Kitchen Tools for Full-time Vegan Travel

vegan cooking equipment when travelling

Although I have a little bit of an obsession when it comes to traveling light, as a travelling vegan I do personally believe there are some things you can't afford to not take with you. It will of course depend a little on how you travel - if you're going to stay exclusively in hotels and don't intend to cook then this post isn't for you. But for someone like me I hope this post will be useful. I'm someone who travels long term, lives in places with kitchens, likes to cook a lot (read: likes to eat my partner's cooking a lot).

10 Kitchen Tools For Full-Time Vegan Travel

Because we often go for budget places, the kitchens aren't always 'up to scratch'. There are many kitchen appliances that you can either go without or wouldn't be feasible to take with you (e.g. a slow cooker or a dehumidifier). So the things on these post are (hopefully) a) useful b) practical and c) (in my opinion) indispensable. Let me know what you think!

#1. A sharp knife + a knife sharpener

I know this sounds pretty basic but when you move from apartment to apartment every month (or sometimes even more frequently), you get randomly equipped kitchens... some better equipped, some less so - sure, there are always apartments to rent in Baltimore MD and sometimes they do come fully equipped that's true.  But some only have serrated knives, no sharp ones - I mean, ones that can be sharpened. A straight, stainless steel blade. A good knife is important for peeling and chopping fruit & veg, opening plastic bags when there's no scissors around, cutting string, loosening your trolley bags wheels when something gets stuck in them and so on - so many functions! One of the oldest tools invented by humans, a good knife is essential in the kitchen.

vegan kitchen tools for travelling

Because even if you do find a knife with a straight, steel blade in your Airbnb's kitchen, there's a good chance that it will be blunt. A blunt knife is great for spreading vegan butter or tahini on your slice of bread but not for cutting slices of bread or tomatoes... and this is where a good knife sharpener comes in. Of course, you might have the skill to sharpen two knives with each others' blades like a pro... but what if there is only one knife with a straight steel blade?

#2. A mini grater

I prefer to grate my garlic instead of chopping it (it releases its flavours better this way) and I feel similarly about making my ginger: grated ginger makes a better tea and is better with the classic rice + soy sauce + lemon juice + garlic + peanuts + cucumber combo! Also useful when grating vegan cheese if you're into that kind of thing (we usually go without but you know, whatever floats your boat :)

#3. A whizzer (hand-held blender)

Okay so this one is the heaviest of them all but is defo worth it! Wanna make a big batch of cheap hummus, some for today, some for tomorrow? You'll need a strong hand blender, so when it comes to buying one, we recommend picking one of the higher-end ones like a Multiquick Hand Blender - second-hand whizzers are great, too (we bought ours from a very kind lady in Hungary)!

#4. A mini can opener

When I say 'mini', I mean mini, that is: not one of those big, twisty ones that weigh a lot and go rusty after a couple of years. I mean the ones that fit in your palm and have one claw and that's it. Sure, most cans nowadays are easily opened - there are still some that aren't. And while mastering this can opener might be a bit of a challenge for some (the founder of this blog definitely had a hard time when first coming across it), it is a skill worth of learning!

#5. A pair of scissors

It might sound unnecessary but believe me, a pair of scissors in the kitchen can be terribly useful, not just for opening bags (of spice, beans, rice, etc.) properly but also: cutting up fresh herbs or even vegetables!

vegan travel gear

Imagine the following scenario which has happened to us multiple times now: you chop up the veg, chuck it in the soup, only to realize later that the chunks are too big and now they are steaming hot too - what we usually do is plunge our pair of metal scissors into the soup and cut the veg into smaller pieces whilst still in the hot broth instead of picking them out one by one and chopping them with a knife (no burnt hands!). Also: cutting up lettuce and spinach or any other leafy greens in a bowl, and so on. Scissors can come handy in other outside-the-kitchen situations, as in: cutting string, paper or sellotape... so many uses!

#6. A mini sieve

If you prefer to get and brew your herbal teas in big batches instead of using teabags, this is essential. We do not usually find the ratio of one teabag per on cup of water enough, especially when it comes to herbal teas: more like two heaped tablespoons of camomile per one cup - now that's a thick brew! Something you'll feel, I mean the effects of it. A sieve is essential for the operation of creating these teas, plus it can come in handy when cooking too.

#7. Tupperware

I usually carry around one medium-sized tupperware pot, it serves multiple functions: I carry my variety of spices in it around when I travel, when not on the road, it serves either as a food container in the fridge or, more usually, the pot I keep my compostables in (a tight lid is essential if you do not want the smell of rotting organic materials to fill you kitchen - btw we usually engage in guerrilla composting, in case you're interested).

#8. A bag of rubber bands

We have gone back to buying plastic bags of beans and rice since we moved away from Hungary (which is Tamás's home country), simply because zero waste shops are rare or do not exist in the Balkans at all and because we usually only stay in a city for a month plus we do not speak the language... it's hard to avoid single use plastics like this unfortunately.

kitchen equipment for traveling vegans

We do regret it and plan to do it again - until then, rubber bands are great when we want to close bags or beans, rice, couscous, bulgur, lentils, beans and sachets of spice tightly and securely!

#9. A bottle opener

A combined cork + metal cap opener! Whether it's a wine bottle you're opening or a bottle of kombucha, it always comes in handy. We've been trying to go teetotal for a while so it might go out of use soon but until then...

#10. Mesh Reusable net bags for produce

We went almost completely without single use plastics in Hungary for about a month or two and it was great, these net bags were really handy both at supermarkets' produce sections, at the greengrocers' and at farmers markets.


I have left this until the end because it's not exactly kitchen related (unless you count instagramming photos of your beautiful home-made food, which I do count). It's just such an important thing to travel with I can't leave it off any travel list. And that's a sim card from Sims Direct- I used to be the kind of traveller that waited until I got to the airport to get a sim card, and that just wasn't good for me - jet-lag and airport prices are a no no for something so important. Nowadays I get a sim before I get there, and I like Sims Direct because they offer three different sim sizes, and they're specifically made with travel and you in mind. 

Wrap Up: Must-have Kitchen Equipment For Vegan Travelers

So there you have it, these are the ten items that we (I mean my boyfriend) carries around at all times. We used to have a steamer with us too but then we realised that we do not necessarily need that to steam things (a pot with very little water at the bottom is perfectly enough) plus is weighed a bit too much so we gave it to someone else. Here's a video we made for our sister site's Youtube channel about packing for full-time vegan travel in general, at .... you can catch a glimpse of our kitchen equipment (at that point in time, the steamer was still included). Enjoy! 

What about you, what kind of kitchen equipment do you take with you when you travel vegan? Feel free to share any tips & advice below!

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